Church History 1948


Boldmere Church 50 Years if History 1948

History Boldmere Methodist Church: Acknowledgements 1998

50 years church history
50 years of Church History

We would like to acknowledge the help we have received from a variety of sources in compiling this booklet (Now Here online) and in particular the following:-

Mrs Margaret Booth and Mrs “Bunny” Botteley for the loan of archive material and their recollections of early days.

Mrs Huskinson for advice and help in preparing photographs.

Mr Jim Finch and Mrs Rita Finch for layout and typing and for help in vetting the contents.



It is both a privilege and a joy to write these lines of introduction to our Golden Jubilee brochure. May you read it to your encouragement and enrichment?

During my first year here as minister, I called on each member and began to obtain a fairly clear picture of the Boldmere Church’s personnel. On one occasion I was talking to the late Ivy Meighan, a widow with a most attractive personality. “What is Christianity, Mr Sampson?” asked Ivy. She answered her own question, exclaiming “Look at Boldmere Church – that is Christianity”. Ivy had come to that way of thinking because she had been the recipient of such abundant care and kindness from her fellow members. Indeed, she had contributed much toward the richness of that corporate fellowship.

We appreciate our premises and are most grateful for those folk who work to maintain them in good order and who contribute to their upkeep. They provide us with a fine base from which to serve our community. This being said, our real treasure is indeed our people. As the Gospel is proclaimed week by week they give expression to its content as so many deeds of kindness, care and nurture are undertaken in the Spirit of Christ.

Happily, our work is undertaken within a group of Churches within the Sutton Park Circuit and also within the local Ecumenical Group of Eight Churches. Thus, we do not expend our energy becoming frustrated because of what we cannot undertake. Rather, we find joy and satisfaction in doing that which we can. Read on and learn more.

Donald J Sampson


Methodism comes to Boldmere

The story of Boldmere Methodist Church has roots much further back than 1948 starting, as it does, with the formation of the Boldmere Brotherhood in 1911/1912. The history of the Brotherhood was related in “Recollections of Boldmere 1912-1972″ by Mr G Reginald Taylor (now out-of-print) .. We acknowledge our indebtedness to these recollections for the early part of our story and make no apology for reprinting relevant passages from the booklet.

At the end of the Second World War some of the younger members of the Brotherhood had been killed and others had married and settled in other areas. By 1948 the Brotherhood was struggling and it appears that the Borough Council had its eyes on the building with a view to establishing a welfare clinic on the premises. However, it had been the intention of the Brotherhood’s founders that, in the event of closure, the premises should be sold and the proceeds be donated to the Methodist Church; the membership in 1948 felt that this intention should be honoured. Accordingly, to quote “Recollections”:-

“After careful and lengthy thought a special meeting was held at Boldmere on Friday 23 April /948 attended by Rev WC Russel/, Superintendent Minister of the Sutton Park Circuit, Mr Fred Robinson and Mr Leslie Howes, Circuit Stewards, and officers and members of the Brotherhood.”

(In the Chair was Mr G Reginald Taylor, long a member of the Brotherhood and subsequently a devoted member of the Methodist Church and its organist).

“Rev Russel/ explained how Methodism worked and the obvious advantage of establishing a Methodist churchin the Boldmere area”

After the retirement of the Methodist representatives the following was proposed by Mr Charles Stephens, seconded by Mr Walter Crofts :-

“That the Boldmere Hall be made available to the Sutton Methodist Circuit for the purpose of conducting religious and social activities and that, after a period when legal and other matters had been cleared up, the whole work and building be handed over in their entirety”

The proposal was adopted unanimously and steps were taken to transfer the premises to the Methodist Church.

The Early Years

Transfer to the Methodist Church was completed in time to coincide with the start of the 1948/49 Connexional year and the first Methodist service took place in the afternoon of Sunday 5 September 1948; it was led by Rev Hanley Smith. Shortly afterwards, in the week ended 18 September 1948, a Circuit Rally was held at Erdington (Station Road) Methodist Church to welcome new ministers (Rev John Humphries and Rev Frank MelIor) and to welcome the new Boldmere Church. Mr Leslie Howes, Circuit Steward, welcomed the new ministers and Mr Fred Robinson welcomed the Brotherhood into the Circuit. At this point the Church was in the charge of a lay pastor, Lt-Col (later Rev) W H Weller, MBE but he was in the hospital and Mr Reg Taylor, appointed as the first Society (later Church) Steward, replied on his behalf. Mr Reg Taylor made it his business to attend every Circuit Quarterly Meeting to familiarise himself with Methodist procedures. The first Poor (later Communion) Stewards were Reg’s wife Christine and Mr WaIter Crofts. The earlier Sisterhood, Old Boys’ Brotherhood and Social Club continued alongside the new Church organisation for some years – the Social Club still survives as a snooker/billiards club in the upper hall with its original purpose of providing a club free from bars and gambling; the Club is no longer directly related to the Church but enjoys a close relationship with it.

At this stage, the membership of the Church stood at 16, some of whom were former Brotherhood members and the remainder friends who had transferred from other Circuit churches. Only evening services were held and weekly offerings averaged 30s. (£I-50p). Initially, the Church was excused a set Circuit Assessment but the Council volunteered a donation of £3 a quarter.

The church itself was the ground floor fronting on to Boldmere Road in what had been intended originally (1912) as the entrance hall for a large church building extending back from the road The entrance was down a path fronted by a narrow muddy pavement and big ash trees. (In those days the building was much further back from the road which had not then been widened and there had been no parking spaces added in front of the church). From the path, one entered the centre of the building through an arch, now filled in and containing a small memorial window given by the Stephens family. For the first few years, the seating faced to the right of this entrance but in 1952 a Scheme was adopted: –

” … to improve the interior of the building. The whole seating was reversed and a pulpit built from the original reredos, communion table (an anonymous gift), communion rail, new royal blue carpet (given by Councillor Frank Taylor, then Mayor of Sutton Coldfield) fitted”

The front of the new church was hung with a full-length matching royal blue curtain and a new entrance porch was added at this time.

The Brotherhood had an old pedal-powered reed organ and Mrs Margaret Booth has vivid recollections of her first taste of organ playing on this instrument (“an ill wind that nobody plays good!”). “By 1952 it was found that the old organ was getting into a bad state of repair . . . eventually a second-hand twomanual pipe instrument was bought for £145, including electric blower, pedal board and bench”This was erected in a recess in the inner wall of the church in what is now a double set of cupboards. This organ,
later overhauled, is still in use as the church organ and hopefully will still be with us into the new Millennium.

Reg Taylor was later joined as Society Steward by Mr Harold Symonds who had transferred from Station Road Church and, in 1951, by Mr Ray Botteley who had been a Society Steward in Four Oaks Church and transferred with his wife Doreen (“Bunny”) and family. They, with Mr Maurice V Booth and his wife Margaret and Mr J Kenneth Wilkinson and his wife Muriel, were to become the stalwarts of a strong new Church. In the early 1950s, to quote “Recollections” again :-

” … the Church and all its branches continued to grow. By SeptemberJ954 the Church membership stood at 20. The Sunday School, reformed in 1952, had an attendance of up to 62 under the able leadership of Mr and Mrs Ray Botteley and an enthusiastic staff. The first Sunday School Anniversary was held on Sunday 3 May 1953. The preacher at 3 pm, Rev Eric W B Blennerhassett; 6.30 pm, the late Mr A H Spencer; organist Mrs Watts. This was the start of many fruitful and happy occasions. A parents committee came into being, making itself responsible for monthly “At Homes” ... “

Period of Expansion

In December 1954 Boldmere hosted the Circuit Quarterly Meeting which at that time involved providing the members with a convivial meal before the meeting. This highlighted the limitations of the accommodation, a matter which had often been raised at Leaders’ and Trustees’ meetings. Eventually, it was decided to accept an offer by Mr Stanley Wilkinson, a generous benefactor of Sutton Coldfield’s Methodist churches, to defray the cost of enlarging the kitchen, providing adequate toilets and adding a further small room – currently the vestry; folding doors enabled the hall accommodation to be divided into one, two or three rooms as required. The new extension was opened on 31 October 1955. The church itself was later improved in 1957 by the provision of a number of light oak pews. A picture of the church interior at this time is at Fig 1.

Church Interior1948 1972
Church Interior 1948 1972

Fig 1 Church Interior – 1948-1972

By 1955 the earlier Sisterhood had lapsed so a Housewives’ Hour (later Ladies’ Afternoon Fellowship) was started under the leadership of Mrs Margaret Booth; meeting fortnightly this provided a crèche for pre-school children and an opportunity for ladies who were not at work to meet one another and enjoy fellowship, talks, demonstrations, etc with a short time for devotions. Later, in 1957, this was supplemented by an Evening Fellowship, primarily for the ladies who were at work during the daytime. These in turn prompted the formation of a Men’s Fellowship under the leadership of Mr Ken Wilkinson; this group also held meetings with visiting speakers but, in addition, undertook much of the “do-it-yourself’ work of the premises, e.g. slabbing the area inside the new front wall, panelling the church interior, re-decorating the premises and trimming the hedges, etc.

Originally there were two large ash trees on the pavement edge with a somewhat dilapidated hedge across the church frontage. Boldmere Road shopping centre at this time was interspersed with blocks of old terraced houses with small front gardens. (These gardens account for the fact that the present shops each have a small area of open space between the shop and the pavement edge where they can legitimately display their wares).

After pressure from the Church Stewards the Sutton Coldfield Borough Council agreed to removal of the trees and the hedge and about 1957/58 these were replaced by the present wall, wrought-iron railings and drive entrance. Behind the church building, partly buried in long grass, was a First World War wooden hut purchased from the Army between the wars. It was first used as a branch public library until in 1960 this was replaced by the library on the corner of Highbridge Road.

The Church acquired the hut for £1 00 and it was used as an extension for Sunday School and as a Scout and Guide hut until finally it was burned down (in lieu of being demolished) by the Borough Council to make room for the present church building and car park.

Sunday School & Junior Church

From the time the church was built there had been a conviction that facilities should be found and provision made for the Christian education of the younger generation to pass on to them knowledge of the love of God as seen in the life and times of Jesus and the saints. Early in 1952 the need for a Sunday School became clear and on the first Sunday in May, it was started. Several members of South Parade Church had helped with door to door visits in the area but the only sure candidates for the Sunday School were 5 children of the Botteley and Wilkinson families … on the day 35 children turned up and this number had risen by 1953 to 62 and by 1955 to 80. The accommodation was always something of a problem and by 1964/65 a Bible Class for the older members had to meet

in the Social Club room upstairs. Much of the credit for this was due to a strong staff preparation class meeting every Thursday at the Botteley’s home.

The Sunday School was strengthened numerically at this time by the policy of the National Children’s Home (Princess Alice) at New Oscott that their children be encouraged to attend local Methodist Sunday Schools; we had a quota of children, often quite disturbed and consequently not always easy to handle but several of them responded well to affection and interest from the teachers.

Each year in May the major event was the Sunday School Anniversary; the children practised for weeks under the direction of Reg Taylor learning new music for the event. A large three-tiered stand was erected at the front of the church and each department provided a special performance. There was always at least one little boy or girl to steal the limelight, usually by a totally unplanned performance! Teachers took their classes’ home to tea before the evening service.

Sunday School Outing 1953
Sunday School Outing 1953

Fig 3: Sunday School Outing – c. 1953

The other feature of the Sunday school year was the annual outing in the summer. (Pictures of two of the early outings are at Figs 3 & 4). Initially, outings were to the local gardens of friends but subsequently, the children were taken further afield and many will remember the ancient double-decker bus engaged to take the children to Cannock Chase, one of their favourite venues.

Sunday School Outing 1955
Sunday School Outing 1955

Fig 4: Sunday School Outing – c. 1955

In the late 1960s the NCH changed its policy, preferring to send the children to a morning Sunday School; to meet this it was decided to run the Sunday School alongside the morning service and to provide a crèche for the younger children. For some time this worked well but sadly history has a way of repeating itself. By the 1980s children who had been young in the early days had grown up, completed their education; many passing on to universities and leaving the area. Social patterns were changing, few new families bringing children to the Sunday school. The name was changed to Junior Church but numbers continued to decline and ultimately fell dramatically. This seems to have been the experience of many other Churches but happily, as we reach this Golden Anniversary it is good to see that, after some lean years, we again have the nucleus of a Junior Church … we hope and pray that this will develop and grow, that there will be members ready and willing to teach and that more of the young people who use the premises during the week will feel the need to join the Junior Church on Sundays,

Teaching children is hard work demanding patience and commitment but the rewards are priceless. The Church’s gratitude is due to those who have given their time to this work not forgetting the parents and church members, who helped on special occasions, particularly the anniversaries, erecting the platform, organised the singing and little plays, providing costumes, etc.

We look forward to the day when we shall again be embarrassed by numbers in the Junior Church on Sunday mornings.

Guides Chris
Guides Chris

A big thanks and goodbye to Chris 2009

Youth Work

A Brownie pack had been formed about 1958 and shortly afterwards a Guide company was formed under the leadership of Miss Joyce Waterhouse. The Scout troop followed in 1964 with Mr Bob Bolton as Scoutmaster – later Group Scoutmaster until 1972 – the group including a Cub pack from an early date. In more recent years these have been accompanied by two Beaver colonies and a Rainbow group. These have all had their ups and downs as members moved on but generally continue to flourish for the benefit of the youth of the area. From time to time we have also had a Youth Club but this has usually been of short duration because of trouble with more rowdy local elements trying to infiltrate the club and picking fights with the members.

The New Church

Adult Church membership continued to grow after a relatively slow start: in 1955 there were 25 members but the numbers rose steadily to III by 1983. Since then it has generally hovered around the 100 mark – this may well be an optimum level, enabling members to know one another well, to note and offer a friendly welcome to any new visitor and to form altogether a caring community. As noted earlier in the early years the area behind the church buildings held a large wooden hut occupied by the Boldmere Library.

In 1960 the present purpose-built library was opened on the corner of Highbridge Road and the hut, bought by the Church, became headquarters for the Scouts and Guides and was also used as an overflow for the Sunday School. The hut was a relic of the First World War and its condition was increasingly unsatisfactory with a particularly rough wooden floor.

Church Interior 1972
Church Interior 1972

Church Interior 1972

By 1970 it was clear that the original church was not large enough or any longer satisfactory for its purpose. It seemed that the time had come to implement an expansion along the lines originally envisaged by the Brotherhood, that is, the addition of a church at right angles to the road with the 1912 building forming an entrance hall. Any development involved demolishing the wooden hut.

The initial plan prepared by the architects, Messrs Botteley & Chaffer, was for a relatively small modern church with one central aisle built as an extension of the 1912 structure with a multi-purpose hall to the rear; the church wouldhave a high-pitched roof with the chancel area highlighted by large glass panels in the roof. It was an ambitious scheme but it was clearly not in scale with the old building and, at an estimated cost of £25,000, it was felt to be beyond the resources available at the time. An artist’s impression and plan of this proposal is at Appendix II. A revised scheme was then drawn up, involving a separate church building in the yard with a wider two-aisle church, shorter than the earlier design but incorporating its own entrance porch and fitted with tall floor-to-ceiling windows to provide a light open-to-the-world effect. This enabled the old church to be retained as an additional hall. The scheme also involved updating existing facilities (kitchen, toilets, small hall and vestry), replacing the corrugated iron walls and roof of the small hall with solid outer walls and bituminised felt roof, also reconditioning the small pipe organ and transferring it to the new church.

Garden Party 1981
Garden Party 1981

Garden Party-1981

On 29 July 1970 the Trustees launched an appeal for finances to enable the new building to be started and on 4 January 1971 resolved to instruct the architects to proceed to invite tenders. The estimated cost of the new design and the modifications was £17,500, a figure much more within reach. The scheme was approved by the Circuit, Property Division and planners and a contract was let

to George Linnecor & Son (Midlands) Ltd. The new church was opened on Saturday 23 September 1972 by a former minister, Rev J Dennis Cope, with a service of Thanksgiving and Dedication at 3 pm followed by refreshments in the newly refurbished small hall. A photograph of the interior of the new church is in Fig 2 and a photograph of the hall prepared for the opening is at Fig 8. Fortuitously, an unforeseen benefit of the new wide design proved to be the extremely good acoustics of the church. For those who nevertheless required a hearing aid a loop induction system was fitted in 1989 and more recently in 1997 a full amplification system was installed together with a lapel microphone to supplement the fixed microphones on the pulpit and lectern.

Association With Other Churches

Boldmere has never been large enough to justify a full-time minister. It has always been joined with other Churches in the Circuit including initially one at Princess Alice Home; from 1953 to 1967 it was coupled with Erdington (Station Road) Church with Revs Reg Smith, Dennis Cope and Norman Taylor in charge; from 1967 to 1976 with Four Oaks Church under Revs Kenneth Richardson and Stanley Beard. There was then a short period with the Castle Vale Ecumenical Project under Rev Andrew Macnab and, when he moved to Walmley to take over Falcon Lodge Church, we joined with that Church and continued with Rev Christine Dybdahl until she moved on in 1993. Since then we have again shared a minister, Rev Donald Sampson, with our old associates, Erdington (Station Road).

In addition, as a member of the Boldmere and Wylde Green Council of Churches, Boldmere has formed close associations with the local Church of England and Roman Catholic Churches and particularly with Wylde Green United Reformed Church (Britwell Road) and the Baptist Church (Chester Road). For several years we held combined evening services during the winter with the URC on alternate Sundays and in more recent times have shared Sundays in August, alternating at Boldmere and Britwell Road; also, united services for all the Churches have been held three times a year with more frequent shared services with the URC and Baptists. In 1996 all the Churches took part in a memorable Festival of Faith which offered a wide range of activities over a period often days. Whilst we have never had a regular choir, singers from the Church have on several occasions joined an expanded URC choir during Lent in major productions (“St John Passion”, “St Matthew

Passion” and other choral works).

Church Outreach

The relatively small number of members and the physical limitations of the premises have to some extent restricted the outgoing activities of the Church. But, in addition to the formal youth organisations (Scouts, Guides etc) a Playgroup has operated since 1972 for three mornings a week and since 1989 we have held a Mother and Toddler group on Monday mornings. When a blind member of the congregation (Mrs Clarke) was obliged to enter the Cowley Home for the Blind (Erdington) visitors identified the need for a letter-

writing service and for almost 30 years a number of ladies of the Church provided this until the Home closed in 1995; they also helped with the annual Cheshire Home Fair at the Sutton Town Hall. Further, ever since 1955 ladies of the Church have provided a regular Friday coffee morning; in addition to catering to the shoppers who “dropped in”, for some years they also delivered morning coffee to a number of shops in Boldmere Road. One of the things that made this effort so successful was the home-baked cakes which the shops could not match. The coffee morning carries on to this day and recently it has brought in more than £1200 a year to church funds.

Property Problems And Other Matters

There are always problems with a property of this size and age and Boldmere has had its share over the years. Heating has presented several problems; the original heating in the new church involved circulating heated air through under-floor ducts but this was never very satisfactory and, when the original boiler wore out, no replacement of that type was available and it had to be replaced with a conventional system circulating water through radiators in the window recesses – this involved bricking up the lower part of the original floor-to-ceiling windows. The new system has proved much more satisfactory.

Roofs have also presented problems. Vandals succeeded in gaining access to the church roof, damaging so many tiles that total re-tiling became necessary together with the raising of fencing to prevent further visits by vandals. Even this has not entirely prevented further damage by vandals. In addition the flatter roofing over the small hall, kitchen and toilets has had to be refurbished on more than one occasion.

After some 70 years of service the floor of the ‘old church finally wore out and total replacement of the floor and its supporting beams had to be undertaken. In 1996/97 it also became clear that there was some weakness in the structure of the old building, principally because the heavy roof was not as strongly supported as it might have been – this necessitated the installation in 1997 of an arrangement of girders and tie rods to stabilise the structure and hopefully give the building a new lease of life.

In 1984 it became clear that the pipe organ had seriously deteriorated, many of the bellows being worn out, pipes becoming thin and in some cases damaged and keys sticking. A thorough overhaul had to be carried out but this restored the organ to first class condition and regular maintenance since then should avoid the need for such an extensive overhaul for a long time.

On the other hand, it has not all been problems; a number of improvements have been possible thanks to generous gifts over the years – as noted earlier one gift enabled the Trustees to enlarge the kitchen and toilets and provide the vestry … other gifts enabled us to carpet the lounge (small hall), the vestry, the corridors and the kitchen and, in 1996, it finally became possible to cover the church floor with carpet in place of the original lino-tiles. The ornamental garden to the right of the driveway, together with a garden seat, were provided by Mrs Muriel Wilkinson in memory of her husband Kenneth; on her death in 1996 the family replaced the garden seat with a new one in memory of them both.

Many of the original gifts to the Church are detailed on the last page of Reg Taylor’s “Recollections” but, since then, there have been further gifts viz :-

Large brass collection plate and offertory bags – Mr & Mrs M V Booth
Two oak flower stands – Mr & Mrs A Wrench
The tapestry of “The Last Supper” – worked and given by Mrs Botteley
The large chair in the chancel – Mr Reg Taylor
Vestry carpet – Mr Tony Meighan in memory of his mother Ivy
Blue pulpit and lectern falls – Mrs J Stephens and Mrs J Evanson
White pulpit fall – Mr & Mrs Eddie Winkle
In 1997 the very valuable and practical gift of a nearly new photocopier – Mrs Gwen Darby of Streetly
Also in 1997 the loudspeaker system – provided largely by Mr Bill
Davies in memory of his wife Vera, the balance of the cost being met by Mrs Rose Elsworthy and Miss Phyl Elsworthy in memory of Mr Bob Elsworthy
A series of beautiful banners including one to commemorate the 50th Anniversary – a team of ladies led by Mrs Margaret Blake.

The Circuit

Over the years Boldmere has played a significant part in the work of the Birmingham (Sutton Park) Circuit providing a series of Circuit Stewards, viz Mr Ray Botteley (1970 to 1974), Mr Maurice Booth (1977 to 1981), Mr Brian Leather (1986 to 1990), Mr Derek Wright (1993 to 1996) and Mrs Dilys Griffiths (since 1996). In addition Mr Eddie Winkle served as Circuit Meeting Secretary from 1974 to 1986. Since the inception of the Share/Care charity shop at Kings Road Church some 8-10 members of the Church have been volunteer workers at the shop on a regular basis.

Social Life

Social events have been an essential element in the inevitable business of fund raising. One of the annual highlights has always been the Harvest Suppers, particularly in the 1960s when a harvest theme was adopted each year. Especially memorable were the “Harvest of the Fields” when the end of the small hall became a miniature farm with, among other artefacts, a live calf in its byre – and the “Harvest of the Hedgerows” when we set up a small gypsy camp complete with a gypsy caravan (the dish of the day was “hedgehog” stew!). For the “Harvest of the Sea” the hall was decorated with fishing nets and other fishing memorabilia – and fish and chips were on the menu!

For many years jumble sales provided both a valuable source of revenue and a useful opportunity for members to work together but the time came when they became less productive … the premises are rather too restrictive to hold major bazaars so, in October 1978, the Church introduced the “Mini-market”; these have only been held in years when special fund-raising was required to meet some specific expense but they have proved very much more productive than jumble sales, both socially and financially.

Garden Party 1981
Garden Party 1981

Garden Party-1981

Mention must also be made of the very enjoyable garden parties (see Fig 5) and car treasure hunts which were a feature of the 1980s; the latter were particularly ingenious in the clues which, of course, always led the participants and their passengers to an interesting venue for an afternoon tea. The Senior Members’ Outings commenced in 1967 and provided an afternoon drive in the country followed by tea in a Methodist Church hall at a different venue each year. By the end of the 1980s, fewer and fewer of the more senior members wanted to be driven very far and the celebration of the 25th (and, as it turned out, last) outing in 1991 finished up at our own church hall so that some guests could be driven directly there rather than face a longer journey.

A feature of the period when Rev Christine Dybdahl was minister was a series of annual church holidays at Methodist Guild Holiday centres – at Abbot Hall, Grange-over-Sands in 1986, Sidholme (Sidmouth) in 1987 and again in 1992, Paignton in 1989 and The Links at Eastbourne in 1991. Especially memorable was the holiday organised and led by Christine Dybdahl to the Oberammergau Passion Play in 1990 which included a week in the Austrian resort of Maria AIm. Only two nights are spent in the Oberammergau area but the Passion Play was a unique Christian experience and those who were there will never forget the reality of the story of Jesus’ last week or the beautiful Baroque music and singing that accompanied the play.

The Ambassador

Most Churches boast a house magazine both to keep the members advised of what is going on and to keep them in touch with one another. For many years Boldmere did not have such a magazine but in November 1959 a monthly periodical was introduced.



This was on the imitative of Mr Jack Sharman who was for some years the magazine’s editor. The title “Ambassador” was the result of a competition in the first issue. After many years when the magazine was produced with an ancient Gestneter copier Mr Jim Finch took over the editorship early in 1997, printing it on a modem computer. The “Ambassador” is distributed to all members and adherents but copies are also distributed much further afield to former members of the church who have moved away.

Finally …

We can perhaps not do better than to conclude with the following words from the end of Reg Taylor’s “Recollections” : –

“A diminutive spring bubbled to the surface … years ago and grew stronger and drew smaller streams to it. Sometimes the stream grew weaker and a/most faded away yet, like all good truths, it held on mightier for its suffering and here, where the springiest whispered, it is still singing today.

Thy will was in the builders’ thought,
Thy hand unseen among us wrought,
Through mortal motive, scheme and plan
Thy wise eternal purpose ran.    (Whittier)”